Fornals v Derby County

Fornals: We have to keep working hard now

Pablo Fornals is clear that the hard work must continue after West Ham United booked their place in the Emirates FA Cup fifth round on Monday evening.

A tie against Manchester United now awaits after the Irons defeated Derby County 2-0 thanks to goals from Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio at Pride Park Stadium.

Player of the Match against the Rams, Fornals made five tackles – more than any other Hammer on the pitch – and impressed with a 76% passing success rate, despite operating mainly in the attacking third of the pitch.

His quality was also evident too, as the Spaniard’s forward pass found Bowen to cross for Antonio, who nodded home the Irons’ second of the night.

“It wasn't the best game,” the No8 joked, “but a win is obviously a win; we scored twice, and got a clean sheet - it is just about growing from this now.”

Building momentum is the task for Fornals and company then, who eye a third straight win – and a clean sheet - in all competitions against Newcastle United on Saturday.

Michail Antonio celebrates his goal at Derby with Pablo Fornals
Pablo Fornals congratulates Michail Antonio on his goal against Derby

The trip to St James' Park kickstarts a busy February schedule, which also contains a London derby double – the Hammers host Chelsea, before a visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium sees the month’s Premier League action continue.

Fornals, who was part of the West Ham United side whose last match at Newcastle produced a 4-2 win on the opening day of the 2021/22 season, is confident the Irons can build on recent victories over Derby and Everton in the next weeks.

“Man for man, I think this season we are far better than we were last season,” he stated. “We have to keep believing in that. We need to try to play as everyone knows, try to keep the ball, and hopefully [keep going now] after these two wins.

“At the beginning of the season, we weren't taking all these chances...but I think the most important thing is getting clean sheets and getting stronger at the back too.

“All the people with the West Ham badge want the same, the most important thing is to try and keep everyone together.”


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